Pesticide Ban Reminder

May 13, 2013

Lawn and garden season is in full swing, and for many of us, that means fighting weeds. But before you reach for that bottle of weed killer, Courtenay is reminding residents that cosmetic pesticides are banned in the municipality.

Nancy Hofer, the City’s environmental planner, said pesticides don’t respect property lines. “Pesticides can’t be confined to a single location,” advised Hofer. “They move through the air, land, and water, and may have an unintended impact on other organisms, including humans.”

The bylaw has been in place since 2007, and recognizes that pesticides contribute to the overall chemical impact on the natural environment we all share. The bylaw applies to residential properties and municipal lands, and regulates the non-essential use of pesticides on outdoor plants and grasses.

Commercial, industrial, and institutional uses not containing a residence are exempt from the bylaw. The bylaw doesn’t apply to the use of pesticides to control pests that transmit human diseases, or have an impact on agriculture or forestry.

All pesticides are banned, unless otherwise stated in the bylaw. “It’s always good to check which ones are exempt,” noted Hofer. “The bylaw is on our website, and we can also provide hard copies at City Hall.”

The Comox Valley Regional District’s “Nature Works” program more details on various options;  visit, click on “Public Affairs” and then on “Pesticide Awareness”.

Around 40 municipalities across B.C. have banned pesticides, including Comox and Cumberland. 

Despite the ban, pesticides are still available at numerous local outlets. As pesticides are regulated by the provincial and federal governments, the City does not have the authority to prevent their sale. The Province of B.C. established a Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides, but has not implemented a province-wide ban.

To view the City’s pesticide bylaw, go to